Stop Thinking ‘Felons can’t’ …

Hey Readers! Hope all is well for you, and if not, that it gets better soon!

I was meditating on the various topics to post about on here, and one thing I realized I hadn’t talked about yet – is how I’ve changed my perspective in relation to my background and to life in general. Our perspectives shape and influence our actions and our environment, so it’s something I’d like to talk about as part of life after a felony conviction.

There are a couple experiences I’ve had over the years that really made me realize just how much I’ve begun to apply my determination to succeed in all aspects of my life.  Strangely enough, they are the experiences where I was denied – sometimes repeatedly and with passion. These experiences reminded me that I am more than a felon and that I am more than my past.

Let’s delve in, so I can explain how it hit me last night.

Denied, Time and Time again

Dental Denial

The first experience that comes to mind where I didn’t let a denial stop me, was when I had to have dental work done. Yeah, not exactly felony related, but denial is denial and I still found a way around it. So,  just listen up for a minute. My addiction to all of the energy drinks (I’m talking 5+ large cans of the stuff each day for years) had taken its toll on my teeth, and it was time to pay the piper with partial dentures so I could keep smiling. I was assured I’d be covered for what I wanted to be done, and well, only after the extraction did my dentist bother to tell me that my insurance wouldn’t cover the partials I’d need to smile fully again.
Total bummer right? Not exactly. Instead of hiding out in my house and never leaving or working with people again – which is what I wanted to do at first while curled into a ball on my bathroom floor- I began to research how to make my own.
And guess what… I have had perfectly fitting partial dentures for aesthetics ever since then, that I make in my own home.  For anyone that is interested – I get my kits from Monster Makers – adapting a novelty (vampire) dental kit to my needs. While these aren’t a permanent fix, they’ll get me through until financial statuses improve. ** No, I don’t get a commission from them and they don’t condone using the product for this purpose (keyword here is novelty kit). But, they’re the most efficient place for me to buy the kit from because everything I need is included. You’ll screw up a few times if you try it out, but as with all things, you get better with practice.** I also like to make special Halloween teeth just to freak people out around the holidays – It’s pretty awesome in its own way – which is yet another silver lining to that whole experience. I learned how to do something new that’s actually pretty complicated – new skills for the win!

College ‘Con’undrums

Another time where it really sank home that I’d changed my perspective is when I finally applied for college courses in 2012. I was getting fed up with working hours and hours of endless overtime and still not being able to pay all my bills because I couldn’t get a decent paying job. I reached out to a few colleges and got accepted by the ones I wanted. Did I ever stop to think that my background would stop me? Not really. I did make a point to bring it up in every interview, just to give the advisors a heads up, but because it had been over 5 years, none of the advisors I spoke with gave a damn about my theft record.  I didn’t let the idea of it overwhelm me like it would have in the past – when I was still freshly released and in a totally different mindset that was focused on the negatives.
Now, getting people to hire me in the psych field after earning the degree has been a bit of a different story, but the denials in the workplaces I thought I wanted have guided me toward the work I really want to do. Will the path be a little longer on the way to the goal? Absolutely, there are obstacles at every turn, on every path we choose to take every day. Will those obstacles stop me? Not a chance. And as I go, I get to meet all of you amazing examples of humans that are overcoming awful obstacles each and every day.

Thinking Back on It All

Did I ever think that I wouldn’t find a way to provide for my needs in these examples? Nope. Not once I finally realized that ” where there is a will – there is a way”. No matter how many ‘NO’s I have heard, I just told myself, ‘It’s their loss, I’m an amazing worker and I know I’ll find the place for me.’ And I always have. Of course, it’s never easy per-say, but having the mindset that “I WILL get to my goal” will make the path much smoother.

I also remember how in the years before this point in my life (a blogging freelance felon), I would have never even tried to do anything like the stuff I shared above because I would have figured right away that I’d be denied anything and everything because I was a worthless ex-convict. (Totally not true by the way – for any of us – don’t let that mindset take you!)And a lot of the people I interacted with over the first five years after my conviction seemed to support the negative – that I’d never be good for anything or anyone. There was one person that didn’t feel that way about me, and this person will always hold a special spot in my heart for it. My step-dad. Just before the Parkinson’s disease revved up in his system and took him to the next plane of life, we had a few conversations and I always remember how he would look at me like I was an amazing gift. He never saw me as the trash that society had labeled me as, and after his passing – I wanted to find a way to honor him and how he thought of me – instead of giving into the combined depression of life at that time.

Just a little inspiration

I’m also going to share a fun little scenario that he told me about as I was growing up, and this story always inspires me to just cut through my obstacles as quickly as possible. My second father was an aviator (if I haven’t told you before), and he was a quietly curious sort of fellow. An Aries born in 1927, he was an unstoppable force of curiosity and creativity. He gained a bit of notoriety in our community because he didn’t let any sort of inconveniences stop him and didn’t mind a little attention from people around him. Here’s my favorite story from his past:

My parents all had a thing for airplanes. My second father had begun building a section of a wing for an airplane that he was building (one of many over the years). The fun part—-He began building this wing in an upper bedroom of his house and forgot to move the part as the wing became bigger and bigger. ….So.. as the wing grew in size, it couldn’t join the rest of the project downstairs in one of the large sheds he used for hangars.
Instead of stopping, giving up, or taking the thing apart to move it…. he decided to keep on, and just use a chainsaw to open the exterior wall of the room when it was done – so that he and his family could bring it out.

Yes.. there are photos somewhere… and I’ll try to update this eventually to share them once I find them and get permission from the family to do so. It’s quite epic to imagine – let alone see the proof.

But that’s just another example of how determination and creativity can bring you to a whole new level in your life! Always rise above the negative thoughts that chain you down – you CAN do ANYTHING you put your mind to.

That’s all for today guys! Love and Peace

Aza

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